Content warning: This article contains a graphic photo and descriptions of injury.
On Jan. 17, 2024, a 66-year-old pedestrian named Dan Crouch was hit in the face by a snowball on Donovan Avenue near Old Fairhaven Parkway.
The snowball was thrown from a truck around 1:30 p.m. and struck Crouch in his right eye, leaving cuts and bruising.
“There was lots of laughing and hollering when they realized they’d hit me in the face,” Crouch said.
Crouch immediately called 911 after being hit.
“A homeowner was out shoveling the sidewalk and also called 911 at about the same time,” Crouch said. “He saw that I was bleeding.”
Crouch was wearing sunglasses when the snowball hit, which he believes protected him from a more critical injury.
Three police officers responded about 10 minutes after Crouch’s 911 call. They searched the area but were unable to locate the truck.
“Mr. Crouch stated that he yelled at them pretty good and figured they went home to avoid getting in trouble,” said Megan Peters, the public information officer for the Bellingham Police Department.
Dan Crouch’s wife, Laura Crouch, posted a photo of her husband’s injured face to the Bellingham Reddit page later that day, which received 457 upvotes.
“It was like a big ice cube,” Laura said. “He was hurt because it was thrown from a moving vehicle.”
The vehicle was described by Dan as a red pickup truck towing a blue kayak tied to the hitch. Dan reported to the Bellingham Police Department that there were about six or seven people in the back of the truck and one in the kayak.
“I suspect these are a little older than kids … more like college students who should know better,” Laura said.
The snowfall on Jan. 17 caused accidents and other problems on Bellingham roads. Classes at Western Washington University were canceled for two days.
“Due to the snow and icy conditions on Jan. 17, this was a particularly busy day in Bellingham which presented a number of traffic-related safety issues across the city,” said Jon Knutsen, an officer with 24 years of experience at the Bellingham Police Department.
From 4 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Bellingham police responded to 25 traffic hazard calls, four hit-and-runs, one non-injury collision and referred five traffic issues on I-5 to Washington State Patrol, Knutsen said.
The Bellingham Police Department has reached a dead end in their investigation into Crouch’s case. Since the truck had left the area before officers arrived, more information is needed from the community to identify any suspects.
“Further investigation likely would depend on additional information being provided,” Peters said. “If anyone has any information regarding the incident and the involved parties, they can contact our non-emergency dispatch line at 360-676-6911 and reference case number 24B03056.”
Xander Johnson (he/him) is a campus news reporter for The Front. He is majoring in Public Relations/Journalism. In his free time, he hosts a radio show at KUGS FM, goes hiking with friends, and loses track of time reading books. Xander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.